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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/20/21

If Only Afghans Were Jews

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The U.S. and other governments are not making the priority of rescuing endangered people from Afghanistan that a consumer of Hollywood movies might imagine being made were the endangered people Jews in Nazi Germany.

Sadly, the reality in the 1940s was no different from today. Major investments went into wars, and Western officials wanted no large numbers of refugees. They opposed them for openly racist reasons, exactly as if they worked for Fox News in 2021 only worse.

If only Afghans today were Jews back then, . . . it wouldn't make a damn bit of difference. Saving human lives just does not rank up there with eliminating human lives as a national priority not that anybody has to be reminded of that during the COVID pandemic.

If you were to listen to people justifying WWII today, and using WWII to justify the subsequent 75 years of wars and war preparations, the first thing you would expect to find in reading about what WWII actually was would be a war motivated by the need to save Jews from mass murder. There would be old photographs of posters with Uncle Sam pointing his finger, saying "I want you to save the Jews!"

In reality, the U.S. and British governments engaged for years in massive propaganda campaigns to build war support but never made any mention of saving Jews. [i] And we know enough about internal governmental discussions to know that saving Jews (or anyone else) was not a secret motivation kept hidden from antisemitic publics (and if it had been, how democratic would that have been in the great battle for democracy?). So, right away we're faced with the problem that the most popular justification for WWII wasn't invented until after WWII. Was WWII an accidentally just war? Or was it justified by other factors that people understood and acted on at the time, but which have become confused in the retelling? Let's keep these questions in the back of our heads, while making sure we fully understand what's wrong with the popular story.

Antisemitism was mainstream in U.S. and British culture at the time of WWII and in the decades leading up to it, including among elites and top elected officials. Franklin Roosevelt in 1922 had taken it upon himself to convince the Harvard Board of Supervisors to gradually reduce the number of Jews admitted to Harvard University. [ii] Winston Churchill in 1920 had authored a newspaper article warning of the "sinister confederacy" of international Jewry, which he called a "world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality."[iii] Churchill identified Karl Marx, among others, as representative of the Jewish threat to civilization.

"Marxism represents the most striking phase of the Jewish endeavour to eliminate the dominant significance of personality in every sphere of human life and replace it by the numerical power of the masses." That line comes, not from Churchill, but from the 1925 book, My Struggle, by Adolf Hitler. [iv]

U.S. immigration policy, crafted largely by antisemitic eugenicists such as Harry Laughlin themselves sources of inspiration to Nazi eugenicists severely limited the admission of Jews into the United States before and during World War II. [v] Some segment of the U.S. population is aware of this, I've found. The U.S. Holocaust Museum's website informs visitors: "Though at least 110,000 Jewish refugees escaped to the United States from Nazi-occupied territory between 1933 and 1941, hundreds of thousands more applied to immigrate and were unsuccessful."[vi]

But very few, I've found, are aware that the policy of Nazi Germany for years was to pursue the expulsion of the Jews, not their murder, that the world's governments held public conferences to discuss who would accept the Jews, that those governments for open and shamelessly antisemitic reasons refused to accept the Nazis' future victims, and that Hitler openly trumpeted this refusal as agreement with his bigotry and as encouragement to escalate it.

When a resolution was introduced in the U.S. Senate in 1934 expressing "surprise and pain" at Germany's actions, and asking that Germany restore rights to Jews, the State Department stopped it from emerging out of committee. [vii]

By 1937 Poland had developed a plan to send Jews to Madagascar, and the Dominican Republic had a plan to accept them as well. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain of Great Britain came up with a plan to send Germany's Jews to Tanganyika in East Africa. None of these plans, or numerous others, came to fruition.

In Ã"degreesvian-les-Baines, France, in July 1938, an early international effort was made, or at least feigned, to alleviate something more common in recent decades: a refugee crisis. The crisis was the Nazi treatment of Jews. The representatives of 32 nations and 63 organizations, plus some 200 journalists covering the event, were well aware of the Nazis' desire to expel all Jews from Germany and Austria, and somewhat aware that the fate that awaited them if not expelled was likely going to be death. The decision of the conference was essentially to leave the Jews to their fate. (Only Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic increased their immigration quotas.) The decision to abandon the Jews was driven primarily by antisemitism, which was widespread among the diplomats in attendance and among the publics they represented. Video footage from the conference is available on the website of the U.S. Holocaust Museum. [viii]

These nations were represented at the Ã"degreesvian Conference: Australia, the Argentine Republic, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, United Kingdom, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Italy refused to attend.

Australian delegate T. W. White said, without asking the native people of Australia: "as we have no real racial problem, we are not desirous of importing one."[ix]

The dictator of the Dominican Republic viewed Jews as racially desirable, as bringing whiteness to a land with many people of African descent. Land was set aside for 100,000 Jews, but fewer than 1,000 ever arrived. [x]

In "The Jewish Trail of Tears: The Ã"degreesvian Conference of July 1938," Dennis Ross Laffer concludes that the conference was set up to fail and put on for show. Certainly it was proposed by and chaired by a representative of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt who chose not to make the necessary efforts to aid Jewish refugees, before, during, or after the conference. [xi]

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
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